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Bagh Print is a traditional hand block print with natural colours, an Indian handicraft practised in Bagh, Dhar district in Madhya Pradesh, India. Its name is derived from the village Bagh located on the banks of the Bagh River. Bagh print fabric has replicated geometric and floral compositions dyed with vegetable colours of red and black over a white background, and is a popular textile printing product.[1][2]

Bagh Prints of Madhya Pradesh
Geographical indication
TypePrinted fabrics
AreaVillage Bagh
RegisteredProduct registered in 2008 and logo registered in 2015
MaterialCotton, silk, tussar

Bagh Prints is listed as geographically tagged and is protected under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act (GI Act) 1999 of the Government of India. It was registered by the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks under the title "Bagh Prints of Madhya Pradesh" and recorded with (GI) tag under Application number 98 in 2008. Its logo, with the title Bagh Prints of Madhya Pradesh (Logo) was approved under application number 505 dated 1 August 2015 under Class 24 Textiles and Textile goods not included under other classes.[1][3]



The Bagh village where this handicraft is practiced lies within the geographical coordinates of 22°22′00″N 74°40′00″E / 22.36667°N 74.66667°E / 22.36667; 74.66667 at an elevation of 240 metres (790 ft). The Bagh river, which flows near the village, is a major factor in the adoption of Bagh Print. The Narmada river, about 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Bagh, being a perennial source, is an important source for this art work, particularly during the season when the Bagh river goes dry.[1]


Bagh hand block print artist Mohammed Bilal Khatri

Bagh Print, as it is presently known in Madhya Pradesh, was started by the community of Muslim Khatris (they were converts to Islam under the influence of a sufi saint) in 1962 when they migrated from Manawar to Bagh. Their antecedents are traced to Larkana in Sindh (now in Pakistan) from where they shifted base to Marwad in Rajasthan and then to Manawar; the printing technique prevalent in Sind which they practiced is known as Ajrak prints. However, the reasons for their migration from Sindh across the Indus is not clear. They came with their traditional art form of the block printing process and continued at their new place of settlement but with innovations to meet the local trends and practices in the region; this came to be known as Bagh printing as they settled on the banks of the Bagh river in the village of the same name. In this printing technique, the cloth used is cotton and silk cloth which are subject to treatment of a blend of corroded iron filings, alum and alizarin. The designs are patterned by skilled artisans. On completion of the printing process, the printed fabric is subject to repeated washing in the flowing waters of the river and then dried in the sun for a specific period to obtain the fine luster.[1]



The Chhipa community's migration from Sind is also said to be due to harassment by a Brahmin king. After migrating from Sindh their first settlement was Pali (near Jodhpur in Rajasthan). Due to a severe famine they moved to Gautampur in Malwa region. At that time a new railway line was being laid in Gautampur which made them move from Gautampur to Manawar in Dhar district in Madhya Pradesh. Another factor in favour of their decision to shift was the Bagh river's closeness to the Bagh village; the essential requirement for vegetable dyeing is flowing water for washing which they felt was ideally possible from the Bagh river.[1][5]

Bagh Prints has "generational legacy".[1] Ismail Khatri is the leading craftsman who migrated to Bagh village with his group in the 1960s. He then gave shape and a new approach to the block printing technique which was then in practice in a rudimentary form among 80 percent of the tribal people, known as adivasis of the region. However, there was also a negative impact on this art form in the 1960s, as many craftsmen shifted to adoption of synthetic fabrics. But Ismail Khatri adhered to his technique and made many improvisations. One such practice he pursued was the old technique of reusing the traditional blocks of 200 to 300 years old, which were patterns or designs of paintings in the 1,500 year old cave paintings in the region.[1][5]

Some of the block designs covered Nariyal Zaal and Ghevar Zaal based on the Taj Mahal paintings, Saj, Dakmandwa, chameli or jasmine, maithir or mushroom, leheriya and jurvaria or small dots on the field. Other innovations introduced by Khatri are: blocks design of the jaali pattern from the Taj Mahal and forts in the region; standardizing the use of primary colours of alum based red, and corroded filings of iron for black; and developing vegetable based yellow and green dyes. His primary innovation was creating the Bagh Print on different types of cloth by printing on them. His innovative design of a bed cover, which he printed with his patterns, consisted of a bed cover which had 1,200 different blocks which won him the National Award in 1984.[1][5]

In 2011, this art form got a further boost when the Bagh Prints design was adopted in a tableau theme of the Madhya Pradesh state at the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on 26 January 2011. Shal Bhanjika, the celestial apsara of the 11th century fixed on the tableau was attired in this printed fabric.[6]

New experimentsEdit

Initially, Mohammed Yusuf Khatri, Mohammed Bilal Khatri, Mohammed Kazeem Khatri and their family made traditional dresses to meet the needs of various caste groups residing in the tribal region of Bagh; these dresses of the people of different castes and families had different dresses with specific identification tags of the tribal Bhil and Bhilala community. Some of the Kahtris, developed designs to meet urban taste in the later part of 1980s; these designs covered sarees, Shalwar kameez, covers for cushion and tables, block printed silk saree, tusser silk, silk stoll, scarf and so forth. Some the family members also did innovative wooden blocks and colours which were accepted in the National and International market for their long life; these included craft such as block printing on bamboo chik or mats, leather, jute and other material, besides cloth.[1][5]


Mohammed Yusuf Khatri at work on the Bhatti process.

Weaving and hand block printing process with the geometric designs, imaginative use of red and black natural colours and taking advantage of the chemical properties of the river and effective use of colours results in Bagh Prints in a unique art form.[1][6] The process involves pre-printing, printing and post printing.[1]

Raw materialsEdit

The materials used to make the printed fabric, depending on the orders received for the finished product, are a wide range of cloth such as cotton Maheshwari dress material, Kosa silk, bamboo chicks, cotton rugs, chiffon, crepe, georgette tissue, and mulberry silk. Printing blocks made of wood with the required patterns to create the prints on the fabric are procured from Pethapur, Gandhinagar and Jaipur. The specification for the cotton fabrics consist of: fine cotton (Mulmul) with 100x120s count and 92x80 picks for making saris, dupattas and salwar suits; cotton cambric of 40x40s count and 92x80 picks for dress material; and yardage fabric of 20x20s count for bed sheets or covers. Other materials required are Cenchura or raw salt, aarandikatel or castor oil, grounded excreta of goat, fitkari or alum, hirakasish or iron sulphate, jaggery, outer skin of pomegranate, and leaves of indigo, lime, Sajji, leaves of Dhavdi, mengni, iron sulphate, chiyan or tamarind seed powder, dhavdakaphool (flower) for polishing and fixing, and alizarine (non-red dyes) to fix colours.[1][5]

Some of the old blocks used for printing are known by particular names as: Aabotchabutta, Ahmedabadisaaj, Attha, Chaukada, Nandana, Khedekabodh, Indoriaddya, Indoribodh, Indorisaaj, Jawareya, Jodhpuri, Laheriya, Makhi, Molya border,Molyabodh, Mungphali, Nandanakabutta, Nandanakimirache, Nareyal, Palliwalizanjira, Teekoni, Thuddi and Zanjiri.[1]

Pre-printing processEdit

In the pre-printing process the fabric consisting of 100 single sheets is subjected to cleaning with water and beating on stones in the river to remove all starch. It is then kept soaked in the river water for about 2 hours and then dried.

Bhatti processEdit

The washed fabric is particular type of cloth called "Vichliya" is then subject to boiling process in the workshop in a bhatti or open boiler filled with a mixture of Aal (Alizarin), roots of Dhawdi flowers and water. This boiling process is done for 4 hours to ensure that the cloth is adequately dyed. After removing the cloth from the bhatti it is subject to cleaning process with water. There after in the next process, called the Tapai fabrics like cotton, tussar, crepe, and silk are soaked in the bhatti through the night, and then subject to drying after washing in the flowing river water. Then a mixture of excrement of goats, raw salt known locally as sanchura, castor oil and water is prepared in a cement bucket, and the fabric is immersed in it and stomped. In the next process cloth is subject to drying in layers on an inclined ground surface. The dried fabric is rinsed thoroughly in water, and prepared for printing.[1][5]

The printing process is done in a wooden tray known locally as paliya, which is fabricated with bamboo lattice and coated with paste of black or red colour. Then the wet cloth is placed in the tray in layers and allowed to soak. The soaked fabric is taken out and spread over a stone slab covered with seven layers of jute, and then printing is done on the stretched cloth. After completion of printing the fabric, say a sari, is subject to drying for a period of eight days. At the penultimate stage of processing the cloth is rinsed in the flowing water of the Bagh River and dried. In the final process the fabric is immersed in a solution of dhawadi flowers (woodfordia fruticosa) and Ailzarin (root of Morinda Tinctoria). Tapai and drying follow. And finally, the Bagh print textile is ready.[1][5]

Making of a printed silk fabric needs double the time than a fabric of cotton.[1][5]

Quality controlEdit

The Development Commissioner (Handicraft), Govt of India's branch office in Madhya Pradesh exercises control on quality. The artisans themselves have an internal quality control mechanism through various stages of its production through master artisans. The Textiles Committee of the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, exercises quality control through the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) in cooperation with the stakeholders.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Geographical Indications Journal No.75" (PDF). Government Of India. 26 November 2015. Archived from the original (pdf) on 4 February 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Hand Block Printing of Bagh, Madhya Pradesh". Craft and Artisans. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Registered Geographical Indications (GI)" (PDF). Geographical Indication Registry (India). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-10-26. Retrieved 2014-12-31.
  4. ^ "The man behind the craft". The Hindu. 17 February 2003. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Chari, Pushpa (21 October 2011). "The Bagh story…". The Hindu. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  6. ^ a b "MP tableau to showcase `Bagh` prints on Republic Day parade". Zeenews. 21 January 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2016.